Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid and Clarity Electric debut at the 2017 New York International Auto Show - Executive Remarks

4/12/2017 4:02:00 PM

Remarks from:
Jeff Conrad - Senior vice president, Automobile Division of American Honda Motor Co. Inc.
Steve Center - Vice president of the Connected and Environmental Business Development Office at American Honda



Good morning everyone. It's great to be with you for the last "major" auto show of the season.

And while it isn't the focus of our press event this morning, as you saw in our opening video, we wanted to begin by sharing some of the excitement of the all-new Civic Type R the fastest, most powerful Honda ever sold in the U.S. and that's thanks to its 2-liter turbocharged VTEC engine made right here in America.

Type R is here on display in production form along with the 2017 Civic Si Sedan and Coupe. You'll hear more about on-sale timing and pricing in the coming days but these models complete the rollout of our incredible 10th generation Civic lineup.

And we're excited to debut them here in New York. These new Civics will help add momentum to our great start this year.

As we turn the quarter pole in 2017, we're on pace to achieve a 4th straight year of record sales for the Honda brand. And we're doing it the Honda way with balanced sales of award-winning cars and trucks brought to market the Honda way.

That means a focus on retail business and a disciplined approach to marketing that aims at long-term, sustainable growth while protecting the value of our brand and our products in the hands of our customers.

Today, we're proud and excited to showcase our entire Clarity series of electrified vehicles with the focus on the world debut of the Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-In Hybrid. We kicked off the launch last December with the first deliveries of the Clarity Fuel Cell to customers in Southern and Northern California.

Today, we already have more than 100 Clarity Fuel Cells on the road used by customers as a daily driver while emitting nothing but water vapor in the process.

The Clarity series is the first of its kind, the very first car in the industry to offer fuel cell, battery electric, and plug-in hybrid powertrains on a single vehicle platform. This 3-in-1 approach, as we call it, is aimed at accelerating the deployment of advanced electrified powertrain technology.

In doing so, we're bringing electrified vehicles further into the mainstream by providing choices that meet the diverse needs of customers interested in advanced technology vehicles.

The Clarity Series also heralds the advance of our Honda Electrification Initiative representing our investment in the full spectrum of electric-vehicle technologies.

Earlier this year in Detroit, our global president and CEO made some important announcements concerning this initiative including an all-new dedicated Honda hybrid car coming next year that will feature our 2-motor hybrid system, which also powers the Accord Hybrid, the most fuel-efficient midsize sedan in America. And we're excited that this all-new Honda hybrid car will be built in America.

Within the next several years, we will begin to apply this system to our light-truck lineup as well. In fact, over the next two years, more than half of the new models we bring to market in the U.S. will be electrified vehicles of one kind or another. And as a reminder on a global scale, we've set a target for two-thirds of Honda's total vehicle sales to be electrified by the year 2030.

For the near to mid-term, advancing toward this goal will depend heavily on sales of hybrids and plug-ins. This is a challenging target, especially here in our market, where gas costs less than bottled water. Nonetheless, we believe it's critically important that we continue to make rapid progress in the deployment of next generation vehicles and make these products the kind of vehicles that our customers want to drive.

That's the foundation on which we have built this new Clarity series, to provide customers a choice of electric powertrains to best meet their needs and to make electrified vehicles a true volume pillar for Honda.

That's our motivation but for these products to succeed, they have to do more than just be good environmental citizens. They need to work for the people who buy them and not just in one or two categories but in every aspect of performance, packaging, utility and design.

In this regard, we believe our Clarity vehicles are well positioned to meet the needs of a growing group of customers ready to take a step into the automotive future.

With the Clarity series, we are offering a unique value proposition, three next-generation vehicles with advanced styling, incredibly refined driving performance, and a premium-contented interior that comfortably seats five adults and all at an affordable price.

The Honda Electrification Initiative that underpins this new Clarity series will ultimately involve virtually all of our core products and it will touch every aspect of our business including our U.S. plants and suppliers.

In fact, last month we established a new joint-venture initiative with Hitachi Automotive Systems to develop and produce electric motors for electrified vehicles. This new venture will produce these motors right here in America. At the same time, we are studying ways in which we can advance the capabilities of our manufacturing plants to efficiently produce electrified vehicles in significant volumes. And that's part of the Clarity story as well.

By packaging the electric motor and fuel cell under the hood, we are making it possible to apply electrified powertrain technology to virtually any product we make while minimizing the impact to existing design and manufacturing systems, which should result in more affordable products for customers. In this sense, the Clarity series is not the end of our journey, it's really just the beginning.

So, to get that future started, it's my pleasure to introduce to you the complete Clarity series, together with the Clarity Fuel Cell.

Ladies and gentlemen, the world debut of the Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-in Hybrid.


Hello everyone. We're thrilled to bring you this first look at our innovative new Clarity series, the Clarity Fuel Cell, Clarity Electric and Clarity Plug-In Hybrid.

Today, there are a lot of claims in this space but no automaker knows more about customers of electrified vehicles than Honda.

Our first dedicated electric car came to market two decades ago. Our first fuel cell vehicle more than 15 years ago. And along the way we have benefited from close relationships with our customers, which has informed the strategies we now pursue with the Clarity series.

This "3-in-1" approach is all about meeting the diverse needs of our customers and as Jeff said, providing them with choice. The Clarity Fuel Cell is for the true believers, the most devoted of green motorists, who really want to cut the cord altogether and be on the absolute leading edge of an advanced technology future.

For the long term, we continue to believe that fuel cell technology has the greatest potential to address society's energy and environmental concerns while better serving the needs of customers in terms of driving performance, range and refueling, which for the Clarity is 366 miles range with a 3 to 5 minute refuel.

And our outlook for fuel cells is bolstered by the tremendous initial reaction we have received from our customers about their experience with the Clarity Fuel Cell and from media who've already had the opportunity to drive it.

Now, for the near-term, much of our effort at growing sales of electrified vehicles will focus on plug-in hybrids and, to a lesser degree, battery electrics. The Clarity Electric is an early part of that effort and is designed for the EV "purists", customers who want the experience of an all-electric vehicle combined with the premium quality, five-passenger sedan space and affordability of a Clarity. It's estimated 80-mile range is designed around the needs of commuters, offering them greater efficiency in their daily driving. Here we've found "white space" in the market.

If you want a large, luxurious, 5-passenger battery-electric sedan that's affordable, the Clarity EV is your car. The Clarity Electric is powered by a 161-horsepower electric motor drawing from its 25.5 kilowatt-hour battery pack. Full recharge time at 240 volts will be just over 3 hours but it also features DC fast charging, which achieves an 80 percent charge in just 30 minutes.

We estimate the Clarity Electric EPA range rating at 120 MPGe city. Pricing has not been set, but we expect it will arrive in the mid-30s available initially in California and Oregon.

At center stage, is the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid, which will be the volume leader in our Clarity lineup, sold in all 50 states. The Clarity Plug-In Hybrid is designed for customers who want to take that next step forward in environmental performance but still want the range and refueling flexibility that comes from a gas-electric hybrid approach. The Plug-In is anticipated to earn an all-electric driving range rating of 42 miles, the longest of any midsize plug-in hybrid.

For longer trips, the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid can utilize its hyper-efficient engine to generate electricity and, under certain conditions, act as a direct power source to provide an overall driving range in excess of 330 miles. Electromotive power comes from a 181-horsepower motor and a 17 kilowatt-hour battery pack with a recharge time of 2.5 hours at 240 volts.

We estimate the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid will have an EPA range rating of 105 MPGe and a gasoline-only rating of 42 miles per gallon, although final EPA-certified numbers will come closer to launch. Clarity Plug-In Hybrid features three selectable modes, which provide the ability to maximize efficiency or driving performance.

Again, final pricing has not yet been determined, but we expect it also will arrive in the mid-30s, which is an incredible value when you consider all that it delivers in terms of space, refinement, comfort and efficiency.

All three Clarity models will feature premium levels of content, including Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™, and the full suite of Honda Sensingâ safety and driver-assistive technologies as standard equipment. That means autonomous braking, also known as CMBS, Road Departure Mitigation, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow and Lane Keeping Assist among other advanced technologies.

The interior of the Clarity is another thing that really sets it apart from much of the competition, bright, modern and sophisticated, it offers a level of premium feel, comfort and refinement that no one at this price point can match.

All three use a high percentage of environmentally-friendly materials including plant-derived bio fabrics for much of the interior. Taken together, over the course of the first four model years, we hope to sell about 75,000 Clarity vehicles in America. Add in other electrified products in the pipeline, and we expect sales of Honda electrified vehicles – hybrids, plug-ins and fuel cells – to grow roughly five-fold over that same time period.

These are the first major steps toward our corporate goal that two-thirds of our vehicle sales will be electrified by 2030.

Electrification is the future of mobility and the future of Honda. And it all starts now with this new Clarity series!

As we get closer to launch, you can be sure we'll share more details for both the Clarity Plug-In Hybrid and Clarity Electric, including full specs and exact pricing.

For now, I'll invite Jeff Conrad to join me up on stage for a couple of quick photos and then I welcome all of you for a closer look at the Clarity Series.

Thank you!


# # #